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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Release Date: November 30, 2010 (US)/December 7, 2010 (Australia)
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Dystopian
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Between the Lines (Penguin Australia)

Blurb (from Penguin Australia)

On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life.

Except he's not.

In Cassia's society, Officials decide who people love.
How many children they have.
Where they work.
When they die.

But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own.

And that's when her whole world begins to unravel . . .

The Quickie Review

Whilst for a dystopian novel Matched may not be action packed in the literal sense its’ brilliance lies in its subtleties that leaves you with an ever increasing feeling of dread for the citizens of the society. It is not a novel you can simply forget once you’ve finished, it will leave you contemplating its’ overarching themes of love, duty and blind obedience well after. With its’ disturbing undertones throughout and beautiful writing style Matched is an amazing debut novel that will leave you wanting more.

The Full Blown Review

Matched begins on the night of Cassia’s Match Banquet when her Match, who she will spend the rest of her life with, will be revealed. The society as it is known chooses each individual’s perfect Match based on compatibility or so it seems. It turns out that Cassia’s Match is her best friend Xander who she will eventually marry and live happily ever after, the. end. journey over, however it appears Cassia’s journey is only beginning. She soon discovers that perhaps Xander is not her perfect Match it could be Ky a boy Cassia has known since she was young however it is revealed he can never be her Match because he has been deemed an aberration by the society and never allowed to be Matched. Is smart and sweet Xander Cassia’s real perfect match or is it Ky, the fascinating aberration who according to the society can never be her match? Now Cassia must choose between following the society’s rules and plans for her future which means being Matched to Xander or going against the society and following her heart to Ky.

Wow this novel amazed me with its brilliance, I loved everything about it especially Ally Condie’s intricate world building through her beautiful writing style. Towards the end of the novel I was surprised that I’d nearly finished it, I was so immersed in Cassia’s world I didn’t want it to end. I was also surprised that by the time I was near the end there wasn’t much action that had taken place at all, yet this did not distract from the novel because rather than going for action in the literal sense Ally Condie opted for a more understated action in the form of ever an increasing sense of trepidation in the societies controlling governance.

Throughout Matched we are taken on a journey through Cassia’s eyes, at first Cassia has a positive view of the Society but slowly her view and the readers view begins to taint with the realization of Ky and his situation which leaves Cassia with a feeling of mistrust and hatred for the society that is trying to exert complete control over it’s citizens. When I say complete control I mean it, the society controls the food individuals eat, the amount of exercise they undertake, the job they are assigned, even death is controlled by the society who decide when you’re going to die which I personally found really creepy.

The society we find Cassia in is one in which free thought and questioning is frowned upon, the society controls everything so much so that they decided previously the culture was too cluttered so they chose the 100 of the best of everything from the 100 best poems to the 100 best songs and destroyed the rest. It is fitting perhaps that Cassia’s real questioning starts after she receives a poem that is not on the 100 poems list from her grandfather which states ‘Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’ With these powerful words Cassia is transformed, her eyes are now open to the society and its injustice. Things that Cassia may have never given a second thought to are suddenly analysed and questioned, clearly Cassia’s ‘perfect’ world has been shattered however her world was never perfect she just thought it was.

Whilst Matched goes into great detail about the repressive society it is also a love story where Cassia must choose between taking the seemingly easier path to be with Xander her ‘real’ match (as deemed by the society) or choose the difficult path to be with Ky the aberration who according to the society cannot be her match. This is an extremely difficult decision for Cassia who has always trusted in the society, she’s never had a reason not to trust them but now it seems she does. Cassia’s and Ky’s relationship is what one would call slow burning, because the society is watching their every move the time Cassia spends with Ky is limited.

The ending left me wanting more and definitely leaves room for a continuation of Cassia’s story. It was insinuated throughout Matched that all was not well for the society, there was a war going on between the society and its citizens somewhere but it was never elaborated on in any great detail, it was always on the periphery. It is clear that this will definitely be explored in the second book which will be very interesting given the amazing world building Ally Condie executed when describing the society.

Ultimately for me Matched is a novel about a controlling government, its naive citizens who go about their business and a questioning teenager whose eyes are opened to the exhaustive control and injustice the society exerts. It is a novel about questioning, questioning about what is right and what is wrong. Whilst the society left no room for questioning, leaving its citizens in a permanent state of ignorance, Cassia is questioning everything.


4.5 out of 5

There’s Another Book?!?

According to Ally there is a second book (yippee!) however I’m not sure what it will be called and when the release date will be, I’ll keep you guys posted if I find anything out.



Cass (Words on Paper) said...

Yay! A sequel to Matched! Thanks for the review. I read most of the review (I'm always wary of spoilers) and you've gotten me excited about reading it later on. It doesn't release for a while--I'll be reading & reviewing around late November.

thebookfairyhaven said...

What an utterly awesome review. I have had this on my TBR pile for quite some time now, but reading your review makes me want to read this one more than ever now! So glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I really want to read this one though I'm usually not for dystopian.
It just sounds like the kind of book you really get into.

Kare said...

Hi Romy. I'm here via following friday. I can't wait to get my fingers on matched, not only is the cover amazing but I am a big lover of dystopian books!

Bella said...

I can't wait to read this book! Just stopping by for the Book Blogger Hop, and I found your blog. I love it!

Bella - CheezyfeetBooks

Michael Twin said...

Nice post, Thanks for your very useful Information, I will bookmark for next reference

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Romy @
Greetings fellow blog readers, welcome to my blog and thank you for stopping by. Now you may be wondering who is Well is also known as Romy, a 23 year old graduate student from Australia who loves to read. I read (maybe devour would be a more appropriate word) largely young adult novels, with a particular love of fantasy and paranormal novels, however I am also a sucker for a good romance.
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